Indian dilemma — To Nano or not to Nano
I was stuck in a traffic jam on one of New Delhi’s busiest roads, taking in the sights and smells of vehicles idling in all directions, when my cab driver turned to me and asked — “Are you going to buy the Tata Nano?”
It’s a question thrown at me several times over the past few months and each time the answer has been “No”.
As D-day draws near, excitement is palpable among India’s middle-class. Dealers are reporting thousands of enquires daily. After all, buying a car is part of the great Indian dream and the ultimate goal for many a teenager.
With the Nano, it’s now slightly easier to turn that dream into reality. Many of the men and women zipping around on scooters and motorcycles would be eager to upgrade to a four-wheeler.
Those who travel by bus or autorickshaw would also be tempted to go in for a change. And don’t forget the rich — they wouldn’t mind having an extra car just to collect the groceries.
As for me, even my “No” sometimes veers towards a “Maybe”.
But my curiosity has been piqued by my driver’s question and I ask him if he has any plans of bringing home the Nano.
“I can buy it for sure but where am I going to drive it?” he said, pointing to the chaos around us.
I agree. I can hardly see the road. New Delhi is already bursting at its seams with cars big and small — and it’s a problem that’s fast spreading to other Indian cities.
And if, as I suspect, the coming months see long lines outside Tata Nano showrooms, I hope the wannabe owners of the “people’s car” will ask for a road-to-drive-on guarantee.